One third of China's 900 million rural residents do not have
access to safe drinking water, a senior Chinese environmental
official said on Friday.
Preventing and controlling environmental pollution in the rural
areas will be the top priority of China's ecological protection
efforts this year, said Wu Xiaoqing, vice minister of the State
Environmental Protection Administration, at a meeting on
conservation and ecology held in Weihai, east China's Shandong
"Some 300 million rural residents are coping with unsafe
drinking water, while more than 133,333 hectares of farmland are
covered by trash heaps or garbage dumps," said Wu.
According to a research cited by Wu, China's rural areas produce
some 8 billion tons of sewage, 120 million tons of trash and 2.5
billion tons of waste from livestock and poultry each year.
Some areas where cities meet the countryside have been turned
into grounds for trash heaps and industrial waste.
"Environmental problems have become a hindrance for a
sustainable development of rural society and economy in China,"
"Environmental pollution in some areas has led to a sharp rise
in cases of certain diseases, and farmland irrigated with polluted
water and overuse of farm pesticide in other areas have worsened
the quality and quantity of farm crops," said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2007)